April 1, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — Food will be the focus of guest lecturer Sara Risch, founder of the consulting firm Science By Design, when she speaks at the annual Helen Murray Free Lectures at The College of Wooster.
Risch will present a public lecture, titled “What is in Our Food?” on Wednesday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 009 of Severance Hall (943 College Mall). She will also present a technical lecture, titled “Food and Flavor Chemistry” on Thursday, April 21, at 11 a.m., in the same location. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
The public lecture will focus on explaining the categories of food additives that are not naturally occurring, with information about what they are, why they are used, and the health implications they may have. The technical lecture will focus on chemical reactions that occur in food and how understanding these reactions helps product developers manipulate chemicals to create products that better meet consumer expectations or regulations (such as health or monetary guidelines).
Risch earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, her masters from the University of Georgia, and her Ph.D. from Minnesota, all in food science. She then became the director of research and development for Golden Valley Microwave Foods. In 1993, she founded Science By Design, through which she gives technical aid to food and packaging companies in product development, packaging, and regulatory issues. She was also director and professor at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University from 2004-2006. Risch has authored multiple technical papers and edited six books. Currently, she is active in the Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society as a counselor and a member of the Committee on Committees.
Helen Murray Free is a 1945 College of Wooster graduate and an inductee into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Her research in clinical chemistry not only revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory, but also in the home. She developed the "dip-and-read" glucose tests for diabetics, and she was awarded seven patents for her clinical diagnostic test inventions. She also helped to develop a product for diagnosing Hepatitis-A while working for Miles Laboratories. Throughout her career, she has been an advocate of science education. From 1987 to 1992, she chaired the American Chemical Society's (ACS) National Chemistry Week Task force. In 1980, she was chosen as one of Wooster’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners, and in 1993 she was elected president of the ACS. She has authored more than 150 professional articles, and co-authored two widely used textbooks in the field. In addition, she has been recognized in a number of ways, including the awarding of the ACS Garvan Medal and the establishment of the ACS Helen M. Free Public Outreach Award, which was created in her honor. In 2010, the ACS designated development of diagnostic test strips as a national historic chemical landmark. Also in 2010, she was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama.
The Helen Murray Free Endowment was established by her children through the Al and Helen Free Foundation. Income from the Fund brings to the campus each year a renowned woman or man who is a practitioner in the chemical sciences (materials science, nanotechnology, and molecular biology). This scientist interacts with chemistry students at a technical level and presents an open lecture about the contributions of science to the quality of life.
Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2418) or e-mail.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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